Yellowstone In Winter - Twice As Wild

Winter has come early to the Northern Rockies. After a beautifully mild and clear fall, over a foot of snow fell in Bozeman, Montana on October 23. The season shifted and the cold season is here to stay. 

Winter in Yellowstone National Park

There is nothing like winter in Yellowstone
. With snow blanketing the forests and meadows, a hush, a ringing stillness, pervades the sprawling plateaus. Through the silence, as your ears strain, you hear a distant, mournful howl. It comes again. Suddenly, much nearer at hand, from just over the hill, comes a response. Wolves! They are talking across the miles, exchanging ancient messages. All the land listens.

No Crowds In Winter

In winter, Yellowstone’s summer crowds are long gone. The rhythm of nature still holds sway. Bison huff and snort, steam rising from their mouths and off their frosty backs as they walk in the sun’s early light. Near at hand a smaller shape drifts through the sagebrush; a coyote stalking its winter breakfast of voles. Pausing, the canine tips its head quizzically, triangulating on the scurry of rodents under the snow. 

Wolves in Lamar Valley

At lower elevations, near the North Entrance, pronghorn disappear and appear again like ghosts, their coloration blending perfectly into the sagebrush and patchy snow. Bighorn sheep gather in early winter at the foot of a mountain, muscular rams jockeying for dominance and displaying their huge curled horns for aloof females as curious lambs look on.

Book A Winter Tour in Yellowstone
It’s time to experience winter in Yellowstone for yourself.
Access to Yellowstone is much more limited, but Yellowstone Guidelines can get you and your family there for a real adventure in a Winter Wonderland. Our winter wildlife and scenery tours take you deep into Yellowstone’s fabled Northern Range, home to the largest wolf pack in the Park as well as great herds of bison. We can show you the most active and colorful hot springs at Mammoth, rising in steaming tiers above this old cavalry fort that serves as Park Headquarters. We can take you cross country skiing to see waterfalls sheathed in ice or snowshoeing into wolf country in Lamar Valley.

The Christmas and New Years holidays are very popular in Yellowstone. Imagine the fun of snow angels, snowmen, festive cozy hotels, ice skating and ski touring. Mammoth Hotel is open in winter, though it fills up during the holidays so maybe consider a quieter time of winter for your stay.

Winter Fun in Yellowstone

Completion of the Old Gardiner Road

The floods of June 2022 destroyed the old North Entrance road to Yellowstone. But the Park Service found a hard-working contractor and a new road has been completed, taking a different route high above the Gardiner River. So the North Entrance is once again open 24/7. From Mammoth the roads are passable for 45 miles to Tower Junction, Slough Creek, Lamar Valley and the Northeast Entrance, traversing the best wildlife habitat in Yellowstone

Let us show you where the wolves roam, where a bear makes its den, where moose browse the willows, where otters dive in cold rushing water after trout. Join us for some winter tracking to see what signs the critters leave behind. Learn which birds are hardy enough survive a Yellowstone winter and where elk and pronghorn migrate to when the snow piles up.

Yellowstone Winter Trip Planning

Yellowstone Guidelines can also connect you with guide services for a snowcoach or snowmobile tour into Yellowstone’s Interior. Start or end your Yellowstone winter journey with our day trip to Lamar Valley. 

What are you waiting for? Yellowstone’s longest and quietest season is here. The snow is piling up and the temperatures are dropping. The stillness is settling in like a big cozy blanket. A tracery of tracks shows where the wildlife have been wandering in the snow. Come and add your own tracks to the canvass of Yellowstone.

Winter Geysers in Yellowstone
Blog post by Phil Knight. Phil Knight is Bozeman local, author, outdoor enthusiast, and guide for Yellowstone Guidelines. For tours and adventures in Yellowstone with Phil, contact us at 406-599-2960 or


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